Organizational change in any sector implies moving away from the present state and "toward some desired future state" in order to increase the effectiveness of the organization (Lunenburg, 2010, p. 1). Change is typically driven by internal and/or external factors. The impetus for change could be a crisis or, in the case of criminal justice agencies, policy change. Changes to technology or financial resources are other examples of external forces of change that could impact a criminal justice agency. Criminal justice agencies also respond to internal forces of change, including demands to change organizational culture, policy, or procedure. The primary approaches to manage organizational change in criminal justice agencies include recognizing the need for change and the forces instigating it, planning effectively for change, and implementing change strategies that coincide with organizational goals and values.
When change has become inevitable in a criminal justice agency, it may also be helpful to understand the social, political, and organizational behavioral variables that influence change. Increased diversity in criminal justice agencies, in terms of not just ethnicity, but also gender, age, and political orientation, may impact the internal forces driving change. These social factors drive shifts in organizational culture and can help the criminal justice agency become more responsive to the needs of the public. Political variables generally refer to external change forces such as policy change and scholarly research that informs those...
For example, Umbreit (2007) notes that research supporting the efficacy of restorative justice has prompted the introduction of evidence-based practices in restorative justice, and that those practices are forcing organizational change in criminal justice agencies nationwide. Similar shifts in attitude towards crime and towards responses to crime such as alternative sentencing may inspire organizational change, and are also external forces that do cause changes in organizational behavior too.
Organizational behavior refers to the collective human factors that can either welcome or resist change. External factors such as changes to criminal law will affect organizational behavior such as changing the roles of several different parties within the criminal justice agency (Stojkovic, Kalinch & Klofas, n.d.). The organizational systems within a bureaucratic structure like that of a criminal justice agency also need to respond to change accordingly. In many cases, the systems will shift entirely: chains of command and the relevance of various roles and positions in the systems may dramatically alter the ways people behave and the status they hold in the agency. Thus, change can be painful for some members and desirable for others. Stakeholders within the organization -- its employees and ancillary support -- need role clarity during the change process. Effective…
Bodor, T., Thompson, F. & DemirAivi, F. (2004). Criminal justice cultures in the United States. Retrieved online: https://www.ctg.albany.edu/publications/journals/hpa_2004_criminal/hpa_2004_criminal.pdf
Lunenburg, F.C. (2010). Forces for and resistance to organizational change. National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal 27(4).
Stojkovic, S., Kalinch, D. & Klofas, J. (n.d.). Criminal Justice Organizations. Fifth Edition.
Umbreit, M.S. (2007). Restorative justice: Implications for organizational change. National Institute of Justice. Retrieved online: http://www.nij.gov/topics/courts/restorative-justice/organizational-change/pages/implications.aspx
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